Attempts by India to join US’ alliance could “irritate” China, Pakistan or even Russia and bring “strategic troubles” to New Delhi while making it a centre of geopolitical rivalries in Asia, China’s state-run media commented on Tuesday. In an editorial written ahead of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter signing a logistics agreement, state-run Global Times said India may loose strategic independence if it leans towards the US.
The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) allows India and US militaries to access each other’s military facilities for refuelling and replenishment. “This is undoubtedly a leap forward in US-India military cooperation. US media highly applauded this deal, with Forbes hailing it as a ‘war pact’ and believing that India is shifting away from Russia, its Cold War ally, toward a new alliance with the US,” the editorial said.
“If India hastily joins the US alliance system, it may irritate China, Pakistan or even Russia. It may not make India feel safer, but will bring strategic troubles to itself and make itself a centre of geopolitical rivalries in Asia,” it said.
“India holds dear its independence and sovereignty after squeezing out of the UK’s colonialism. It views itself as a major power and is developing on the wave of the emerging countries,” the editorial said.
While India has adopted a prudent attitude so far refraining from joining US alliance, some defence analysts expressed worries that India may lose strategic independence and warned that the pact may render New Delhi a “follower” of Washington, it said. Observing that India attaches high importance to national security, the editorial said, “It feels it is an urgent task because its defence levels are a necessary condition of being a major power, rather than out of a sense of crisis that requires an intimacy to the US.”
Due to its non-alignment policy, India has been given attention from all the major powers such as the US, Japan, China and Russia in recent years, it noted. “However, in recent years, Washington has deliberately wooed New Delhi to become its quasi ally so as to impose geopolitical pressure on China. It is possible that the (Narendra) Modi administration is trying an unconventional way to lean toward the US with the logistics agreement,” the editorial said.